Gloria Bell

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I thought this was a fabulous film, and kudos to Julianne Moore for doing some nude scenes, and looking Fantastic.

Five things about “Gloria Bell.”
1. Aging while single is hard,
2. Family is hard (and joyful too, but often hard).
3. Romance is really hard (especially with adult children that don’t approve, and won’t grow up).
4. Music from the 70’s and 80’s is sooo much fun!
5. Julianne Moore has a great singing voice, and is so beautiful – but she can’t dance.

I think it would be difficult to get much out of this film for anyone under 55. I have single (divorced) friends who live similarly to Gloria Bell (spooky similarly). This film is a character study on an aging (beautiful) woman. Julianne Moore was perfect in this film. While at 58 she might not be what society thinks of as “aging” still as the film portrays (and Gloria’s own mom explains) – after sixty the difficult changes keep coming fast and furious).

Gloria does find a satisfactory relationship with a nice man, but his family issues (and to a smaller degree hers too) make the love affair very difficult. Go in knowing what this is, and enjoy. “Gloria Bell” is great music around a woman (in her very late fifties) navigating work, family, love, disappointment, finances and loneliness.


“Gloria Bell” (2018 release; 102 min.) brings the story of Gloria. As the movie opens, Gloria, a fifty-something divorced woman, is at a disco somewhere in LA, and we see her dancing away to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Never Can Say Goodbye” and later Earth Wind & Fire’s “September”. We then get to know Gloria: she has two grown-up kids, and she has a boring job at an insurance company. When some time later she eventually returns to the disco, with this time’s EW&F’s “Boogie Wonderland” and “Let’s Groove” playing, she gets to know Arnold, a divorced guy himself. The two hit it off… At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you’ll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest film from Chilean writer/director Sebastian Lelio, and here he remakes his own 2013 classic “Gloria” (set in Santiago, Chile) for US audiences, transposing the setting to Los Angeles. The story line is EXACTLY the same in the two versions, down to the last details. As was the case with the 2013 original, which featured a stunning performance by Paulina Garcia, the success of the remake was likely to hinge on whether the actress cast in the title role, would make this her own, letting us forget about the original role. Lelio decided to cast Julianna Moore, and what a fabulous movie that turns out to be. Moore is nothing short of sensational. I have seen many of her movies, and this surely ranks among the very, very best in her long career (easily better than her performance in “Still Alice”, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar). Lelio also manages to keep the overall “spirit” of the original movie. When you get a towering performance like Moore delivers here, other performers around her inevitably fall a bit short. In particular John Turturro as Moore’s love interest, pales in comparison. Check out Michael Cera as Moor’s son. But overall, job well done. I am typically very skeptical about Hollywood remakes of foreign movies, I mean just take the recent Liam Neesam-starring “Cold Pursuit” remake of the Norwegian black comedy “In Order of Disappearance”, where the Hollywood version is neither black nor a comedy, turning it instead into a “Death Wish”-like revenge movie. Thankfully “Gloria Bell” avoids that sad fate, and in fact is one of the rare Hollywood remakes that is equal to the original. And you can take a bow for that, Ms. Moore.

“Gloria Bell” premiered to great acclaim at last Fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, and opened this weekend onto 3 screens in Greater Cincinnati. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended nicely, I’m guessing about 40 people or so. It was clear that the audience was enjoying this. Whether you’ve seen the original 2013 Chilean classic or not, I feel confident that you will enjoy the Hollywood remake. Of course I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.

– Paul Allaer

I love Juliette Moore and think she is a terrific actress. That said this is one of the least enjoyable movies I have ever watched. There is not one character who seems to have any redeeming qualities or anyone who you would want to spend even a minute with. I am a woman and in my early sixties so I get what the concept is, but I would hate to be as old this character is and be so clueless. The most interesting character is a cat that keeps showing up in her apartment even though that subplot fell apart….if that is what it was suppose to be. Juliette Moore looks great though, thus the 2 stars.


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Actors: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Directors: Sebastian Lelio
Format: NTSC, Subtitled
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only..)
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R-Restricted
Studio: Lions Gate
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2019

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